Friday, 22 March, 2019

FDA lifts ban on genetically modified salmon

FDA removes restrictions on genetically modified salmon FDA Allows Genetically Modified Salmon to Be Imported Into US
Priscilla Morrison | 12 March, 2019, 21:26

By using a growth hormone-regulating gene from Pacific Chinook salmon, along with a promoter gene from ocean pout, an eel-like marine animal, the company figured out a way to grow genetically modified Atlantic salmon year-round instead of only during the spring and summer.

The Food and Drug Administration has lifted an import ban that prevented genetically modified salmon from entering the United States.

The Food and Drug Administration on Friday lifted an import alert that stopped genetically engineered salmon - called "Frankenfish" by some critics - from entering the United States, the agency announced in a news release. "As was determined during the FDA's 2015 review, this fish is safe to eat, the genetic construct added to the fish's genome is safe for the animal, and the manufacturer's claim that it reaches a growth marker important to the aquaculture industry more rapidly than its non-GE farm-raised Atlantic salmon counterpart is confirmed", Gottlieb said in a statement.

According to the FDA, it complied with the guideline by blocking modified salmon from entering the U.S. However, after Congress enacted the National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standard relating to food labels in December, the FDA has chose to deactivate the import alert.

In a statement, the FDA said the recently issued GMO food labeling from USDA supersede its authority over labels on biotech food.

Alaska's other senator, Dan Sullivan, said, "We will not give up this battle to protect Alaska's world-class and sustainable fisheries and the right of consumers to know what they're putting on their dinner plates".

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These new regulations will mandate that companies selling "bioengineered" food will have to label their products as such, and come into force in 2020.

"We will immediately start the process to import AquAdvantage eggs from our hatchery in Canada to begin grow out at our in facility", said Wulf.

Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski, who blocked USA sale of the AquAdvantage salmon since 2015, said she is skeptical that federal GMO food labeling rules will mandate labeling of the fish, so she is pursuing legislation to require "genetically engineered" to appear in the market name. The company has said they expect final certifications for their Albany facility in the coming weeks.

AquaBounty, the company behind the GM salmon breed they have named "AquAdvantage", produce the eggs in their research and development facility in Canada.

Wulf told AP she doesn't expect the pending lawsuit filed by a coalition of consumer, environmental and fishing groups to affect the company's USA plans. The fish is already available in limited qualities on the market in Canada, where labelling is discretionary and up to grocers, the Post added. AquaBounty says this won't be an issue for their salmon, as they are raised in tanks, are modified to be all female, and are sterile.

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